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On August 1, 2023, Anton Paar acquired the German company Brabender GmbH & Co. KG, which will be integrated into the Anton Paar Group as Anton Paar TorqueTec GmbH. The effective, retroactive date of the acquisition is January 1, 2023. The company, based in Duisburg, Germany, offers measurement and process engineering solutions for the testing of various raw materials and for recipe and process development. It covers a wide range of applications – from food and feed to plastics and rubber, and even batteries and other special applications.

The signing of the acquisition agreement took place on August 1, 2023. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. A smooth integration of Brabender into the Anton Paar Group is planned. As before, products and services can be purchased directly via the Brabender website and sales organisation.

Development, growth, and position on the market

For Anton Paar, the acquisition of Brabender is a promising addition to the product portfolio, especially in the area of material characterisation – one of Anton Paar’s strongest growth markets.

“The decisive factor for Anton Paar’s decision to purchase Brabender was the know-how in the development and production of world-leading measuring instruments, which the company has built up since its foundation 100 years ago,” says Anton Paar CEO Dr. Friedrich Santner. “In line with its own long-term strategy, Anton Paar will sustainably expand and further strengthen Brabender’s sites in Duisburg and Hackensack (USA).”

Brabender’s approximately 200 employees will become part of Anton Paar. The acquisition represents a clear commitment to progress, according to Brabender Executive Director Dr. David Szczesny: “Being part of the Anton Paar Group opens up many opportunities for us – in research and development of our innovative products as well as in sales and service. For us, this is a great move that will definitely benefit our employees and customers.”

Just a few years ago, Krones’ subsidiary Steinecker opened a technology center in Freising (GER) where customers can create and test recipes for beer and plant-based drinks. Now, the group is setting another important milestone in the evolution of beverages and processes. In early May, at the company’s headquarters in Neutraubling (GER), a fully-equipped R&D lab was officially inaugurated and dubbed the “Process Technology Center”.

The new Process Technology Center is designed to support Krones customers in their product development processes and meet the flavour demands of the global markets. It makes no difference whether the customer already has a finished recipe for a future product or is still at the start of the product development journey and would like to leverage Krones’ expertise for those first steps.

Krones itself will use the new technology center to more closely analyse the effects of various process parameters on different products. The results will then go into further developing and refining Krones machines and lines.

Expertise for process technology and water design

The technology center is divided into two sections: process technology and water design.
On the process technology side, various process and treatment steps can be realistically simulated on a pilot UHT system. That makes it possible, for example, to compare the thermal impact of indirect heating using a shell-and-tube heat exchanger versus direct heating. For this, customers can choose between two processes: steam injection and steam infusion. For other trials, the facility is also equipped with systems for mixing, flash pasteurisation, deaeration, homogenisation and filling. The results are then evaluated in-house, for example in Krones’ own microbiological and chemical testing labs.

Optimising the flavour profile of water

In the field of water design, customers can fine-tune the flavour of their water by adding just the right amounts of minerals and flavour compounds. The technological possibilities include deaeration, carbonation, electrodeionisation, ionisation, mineral dosing and filling.

A water sommelier provides support throughout the trials. Customers also have access to Krones’ extensive network of experts, with engineers in a variety of disciplines, including food and process engineering, to collaborate on transforming product ideas into real products.

On 20th of April 2023, Krones has signed an agreement to acquire 90 % of Ampco Pumps Company LLC. Based in Wisconsin, USA, Ampco Pumps is supplying sanitary pumps and applied products like mixing and blending equipment to the food, beverage, dairy processing, personal care and pharmaceuticals markets. The company has more than 70 year history in the pump market and is a key player for sanitary pumps in the US food and beverage market.

In the 2022 fiscal year, Ampco Pumps generated with a workforce of more than 130 employees revenue of approx. USD 50 million and a high EBITDA margin. The transaction will increase the profitability margin of the “Process Technology” segment as well as the group margin of Krones. Current Ampco management will remain and will continue to hold 10 % of the shares of Ampco. Krones has an option to buy the 10 % of the shares in the future.

The acquisition of Ampco Pumps is a major step in expanding the components business of Krones Processing. With Ampco Pumps and Evoguard Valve Technology Krones has now a broad portfolio of all key components for the processing technology market. In addition, the businesses of the two companies complement each other perfectly in regional terms.

The transaction is subject to approval under the relevant antitrust legislation. Krones expects the transaction to be completed (closing) within the first half of 2023. As of the closing date, Krones will consolidate the figures of Ampco Pumps in the “Process Technology” segment.

The processing company VOG Products from South Tyrol continuously invests in new technologies. The most recent examples are the NFC juice line commissioned this year and a new sterile tank storage system that is almost completed.

Each of the six new tanks is six metres in diameter and 25 metres high, and can contain up to 625,000 litres of apple juice.

New NFC juice line

The raw goods are moving through the new production line for premium juices that features particularly careful dry transport and uses a cutting-edge belt press.

The new intake line at VOG Products can receive up to 150 tonnes of fruit per hour. It transports the fruit dry and not in water. Sails are used to enable the apples to roll along for processing, which results in fewer bruises and damaged spots. Dry transport has one additional advantage: the system consumes much less water.

The main element for juice extraction is the new belt press, which VOG Products uses to produce high-quality premium juice that features a long shelf life and more appealing colouration.

VOG Products ensures that the juice’s quality and turbidity are consistently in line with consumer wishes. In the separator (centrifuge), solid material and starches are removed from the juice with high efficiency and 100 % automation – exactly to the extent that meets the specified quality standards or the customer’s requirements.

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Premium juices: VOG Products with new direct juice and intake lineVOG Products has always relied on premium quality. The new NFC juice line blends seamlessly into the quality strategy of the modern fruit processing company headquartered in Laives, in the Trentino-South Tyrol (Italy) region.

Premium juices: VOG Products with new direct juice and intake line
Christoph Tappeiner (Photo: VOG Products)

As a pioneer in the premium juice segment, VOG Products continuously invests in new technologies in order to attain even higher quality standards. The most recent example is the NFC juice line, which was commissioned this year. “Even better juices resulting from more careful processing – this is VOG Products’ strategy for success,” said Christoph Tappeiner, CEO of VOG Products.

The new intake line can receive up to 150 tonnes of fruit per hour and transports the raw goods very carefully. “The apples are transported dry and not in water. We use sails to prevent them from falling from great heights. Instead, they roll towards the processing line,” Tappeiner explained. “This results in fewer bruises or damaged spots – and excellent raw goods are the indispensable basis for a safe, high-quality end product.”

Not least due to its dry transport technology, the system also features low water consumption. “We constantly think through our processes critically in order to conserve resources and work sustainably,” said Tappeiner.

After all, VOG Products is closely connected to Trentino-South Tyrol, a region with a long tradition of agriculture that prizes handling the land and its resources with respect and a view to the future. Today, the fruit processing company belongs to 4 producer organisations from South Tyrol and Trentino and 18 cooperatives with more than 10,000 members, most of which are small family operations that care for their apple orchards with love and devotion.

The belt press: a mark of quality

After the apples are washed, pre-sorted, and cut up, the belt press is essential for juice extraction. “The belt press yields high-quality premium juice that is particularly rich in vitamins and features a long shelf life and more appealing colouration, among other properties.”

VOG Products ensures that the juice’s quality and turbidity are consistently in line with consumer wishes. In the separator (centrifuge), solid material and starches are removed from the juice with high efficiency and 100 % automation – exactly to the extent that meets the specified quality standards.

VOG Products is orientated to its customers’ individual requirements in all respects. Direct juice from VOG Products is also available by type and in organic quality.

Novozymes, one of the world’s largest suppliers of enzyme and microbial technologies headquartered in Denmark, has entrusted GEA with the turnkey fitting of a major new plant to produce plant-based proteins for the plant-based food industry. The volume of this order is well into the high double-digit million-euro range.

GEA is further expanding its market position in the dynamically growing new food market with one of the biggest orders in the company’s history. Novozymes, the world’s largest supplier of enzyme and microbial technologies headquartered in Denmark, has entrusted GEA with the turnkey fitting of a major new plant to produce plant-based proteins for the plant-based food industry. The volume of this order is well into the high double-digit million-euro range. Building the new factory in Nebraska, USA, will start later this year and is expected to be completed towards the end of 2023.

“The demand for foods that have a demonstrably lower environmental footprint than conventionally produced products is growing enormously,” says GEA CEO Stefan Klebert. “With our technologies and experience in scaling industrial applications, GEA is ideally positioned to serve the new food market and thus contribute to our corporate purpose of ‘engineering for a better world’,” says Klebert. “We are pleased to partner with Novozymes in this strategic project.”

For decades, Novozymes has been developing fermented catalytic (i.e. industrially produced) proteins – enzymes – that are the basis for many industrial applications. Only recently, the company announced its intention to invest DKK 2 billion in the growth market for functional proteins (advanced protein solutions) for the food industry. “This investment in a new, state-of-the-art production line in Blair, Nebraska, underscores our commitment to feeding the world sustainably and demonstrating the true strength of biotechnology,” says COO & Executive Vice President Graziela Chaluppe dos Santos Malucelli, Novozymes.

The new plant covers the manufacturing steps from harvesting to separation of proteins. According to Heinz-Jürgen Kroner, Senior Vice President Liquid Technologies at GEA and responsible for the company’s alternative foods business, both partners are united by their ability to build scalable, reliable, and highly efficient plant systems. “This project is exceptional in many respects. The intensive bidding phase saw us planning the production lines for the ingredients less than a year later. We now aim to implement the project at the same pace. The partnership is a very rewarding experience.”

GEA will now construct the process systems, which include membrane filters, mixers, homogenizers, heat exchangers, pasteurizers and UHT units, cleaning and filling systems as well as the pump and valve technology. Installation will start mid-2022. The production capacity initially built can easily be expanded to multiply the capacity in the future as demand grows.

Endress+Hauser BioSense to develop equipment and methods for fast molecular analyses

Increased safety in food production and other process applications is the declared aim of the joint venture between Endress+Hauser and Hahn-Schickard. To this end, both partners have established Endress+Hauser BioSense GmbH based in Freiburg, Germany. Its aim is to enable rapid, on-site molecular analyses for the detection of bacterial or viral contamination in water and beverages, genetic modifications in food or contaminated milk.

The research and development service provider Hahn-Schickard has been working closely for many years with the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg to develop rapid diagnostic tests that can detect extremely small concentrations of infectious pathogens with portable instruments. The joint venture is now aiming to transfer this technology from the field of medical diagnostics to industrial process and laboratory automation applications.

Innovative cluster

During the first few months, Endress+Hauser BioSense will operate in spaces located at the university and Hahn-Schickard. Next year the company will move into the university’s innovation center, FRIZ, currently under construction on the campus of the Faculty of Engineering. The start-up will thus expand Endress+Hauser’s activities in Freiburg, where developers are already working on new sensor technologies, biosensors and Industry 4.0 solutions.

In the development of equipment and methods for molecular analyses for process and laboratory environments, Endress+Hauser BioSense will be working closely with IST Innuscreen GmbH in Berlin, which is also part of the Endress+Hauser Group. IST Innuscreen offers a broad portfolio of nucleic acid isolation and molecular diagnostics products and among other things supplies kits and assays for PCR diagnostics.

Experienced leadership team

The joint venture is 75 percent owned by Endress+Hauser, with the remaining 25 percent held by Hahn-Schickard. Dr Nicholas Krohn, who has in-depth knowledge and experience in the field of food analysis, will serve as managing director of the new company. Dr Stefan Burger and Dr Martin Schulz, two long-time employees of Hahn-Schickard who obtained their doctorates in the field of molecular diagnostics at the University of Freiburg, will round out the management team.

GEA presented a new modular orbital cleaner at BrauBeviale 2019 in Nuremberg. Compared to conventional orbital cleaners, the OC200 offers distinctive advantages in terms of cleaning performance and efficiency, build quality and lifetime. The modular concept allows the optimisation of the cleaning process, resulting in significant cost savings. The orbital cleaner’s normal operating pressures are 4 to 10 bar and can easily deliver high impact liquids for tanks with a diameter of up to 35 metres. The OC200 is particularly suitable for large process tanks and storage vessels for industries including food, beverage and wine.

Ground breaking design is a recipe for success

Effective, efficient and repeatable cleaning processes are essential in today’s modern hygienic manufacturing industries. The team at GEA has now developed a ground breaking modular cleaning solution for large vessels and particularly demanding cleaning applications. The new GEA Orbital Cleaner OC200 can be individually configured and easily adapted to the cleaning tasks at hand, ensuring optimization of the cleaning process whilst protecting valuable resources. The modular system allows interchangeability of key components – rotors, nozzle carriers and nozzles – in various standard options whilst the main cleaner assembly simply remains in place. This modularity offers flexible adjustments of impact values, cleaning diameter, dwell time and insertion size, as well as reduced consumption of cleaning media, according to the application requirements and customers’ priorities.

Powerful and flexible cleaner type

The new GEA Orbital Cleaner OC200 is the largest and most powerful cleaner in the GEA range. With nozzle sizes up to 15mm, it combines extended cleaning distances through the use of the latest nozzle and flow guide combinations, ensuring high impact performance standards. If the process parameters change, the cleaner can simply be adapted to the new requirements through the interchangeability of key components. Optimizing the cleaning performance helps to prevent product contamination and increase product safety, thereby protecting the product and brand.

Significant cost savings due to optimized cleaning

The GEA Orbital Cleaner OC200 saves time and valuable resources (chemicals, water, labor costs) thanks to the unit’s ability to be totally adjustable to the cleaning process. Once the cleaner has been installed, the process engineer is able to fine tune the “clean in place” process to obtain maximum efficiency, keeping the “total cost of ownership” and cost per clean optimized.

At the forefront when it comes to service and build quality

The superior design and build quality ensures repeatable performance, combined with extended service intervals, ensuring longer plant production. When service is required, the unit’s relatively small number of internal components, together with the availability of standard service kits through the extensive GEA network, allow a swift cost effective return to full operation.

Tetra Pak has joined forces with global resource management company Veolia in a game-changing partnership that will enable all components of used beverage cartons collected within the European Union to be recycled by 2025.

The average beverage carton comprises around 75 % paperboard, 20 % plastic and 5 % aluminium foil. But while the fibres recovered during recycling have a healthy market when converted into high-quality paper pulp for use in both industrial and consumer products, the same is not true for the recovered polymer and aluminium (PolyAl) mix.

Within the scope of the new partnership, the extracted PolyAl will be processed at dedicated facilities and converted into raw materials for applications within the plastic industry. In this way, the overall value of used beverage cartons is expected to double, making the value chain for collection and recycling more efficient and viable.

The Tetra Pak and Veolia partnership will start in the EU and expand to more markets around the world.

Strengthened organization will focus on R&D project pipeline growth in ingredient and process development

DuPont Nutrition & Health announced it is expanding its R&D team by creating a “clean label hub” at the Brabrand facility. Intending to boost its project pipeline in healthy nutrition and clean label texturant offerings, six new employees will join the existing team to focus on both ingredient and process development.

The hub will feature experts with backgrounds in clean label and sustainability – two fields that often work together and serve related purposes. Working closely with existing project teams, the hub will bring products to market quickly and help grow the existing project pipeline.

“Clean label is about creating foods and beverages with ingredients that consumers recognize, feel good about putting into their bodies, and that respect the Earth and its resources,” said Gerard Lynch, R&D Leader, Systems & Texturants, Emulsifiers & Sweeteners. “Our ingredients are already used in many applications that consumers consider clean label, but there are tremendous opportunities to innovate – creating ingredients that are even more sustainable, using a larger part of the natural raw materials, while providing health benefits to consumers. Committing to this innovation is critical for our ongoing success and growth.”

With the ability to utilize the broadest capabilities in terms of natural raw materials access, processing, across fruits, vegetables, seaweeds and nutritional science, DuPont Nutrition & Health has huge potential to develop functional ingredients that meet consumer expectations.

The hub will help customers continue to navigate clean label trends in a proactive and sustainable way. DuPont Nutrition & Health is seeking creative scientists and engineers to identify ways to convert sustainable and natural raw materials into clean label solutions that meet consumer demands for simplicity and authenticity, all without compromising taste, texture and nutritional qualities.

Planned to be in place by early 2019, the clean label texturants team will have the opportunity to tackle exciting projects to provide texture and stability for multiple food applications.